After the floods began to subside and routes throughout the city had been cleared of the muck and debris it was a shock to see the damage and devastation the Queensland floods had caused to the state capital.
During the event we had been trapped on our little island and were quite unaware of what was going on outside our bubble. We had been dry and had not lost our home but we watched as those just a few doors down had gone under. Everyday we had complained that we had to trek up a hill on the way home but in that one week everyone became truly thankful for it.
In the aftermath, friends went out to help others clear their homes and dump their worldly possessions into skips. With the help of the Disaster Teams, the State Emergency Services and even the Army, thousands of volunteers took to the streets to get their city back on its feet. So many in fact people ended up being turned away.
Being an idiot and wandering about in flood water I have ended up with a hole in my leg that while certainly no emergency still needed looked at and so I headed to one of the evacuation centres to get a tetanus shot. The centre was so odd. It was noisy and busy; a hive of activity but still seemed a solemn place to be. With desks of people claiming emergency pay outs and others collecting or donating clothes it just didn’t seem like real life.
Life moved on quite quickly but lots had changed. Whole sections of the city were now no go areas and places like South Bank and Brisbane’s Cultural Centre would have to be gutted and rebuilt. Lots of businesses would remain closed for months to come or would simply never reopen and diversions would remain in place due to roads and walkways that were structurally unsafe. It was an eyeopener to be in Brisbane during a natural disaster but everyone there knew they had been lucky and they were some of the least affected by the floods.
By January 28th the death toll stood at 38 with 6 more missing presumed dead. The films and pictures from Toowoomba, Grantham and the Lockyer Valley are haunting images but as Anna Bligh, Queensland Premier stated
“this weather may be breaking our hearts, but it will not break our will”
The Queenslander spirit kicked in even in the most devastated of regions and people moved on. For me, the people of Queensland are truly inspirational and always will be.